Gary Wilkens

Broken Ties

Walking along rotting railroad
ties on a muggy mid-june
afternoon with a lukewarm
Pepsi in my hand,
grey stones flecked
with crystal stabbing
my soles I realize

this universe
is big enough
for the
two of us.


On the Playground

If a girl liked you she offered
to show you her panties–
this was a golden moment
in a boy’s life
and the summit of his
personal playground Everest.

Boys set off early up the slope,
ever trying to catch a glimpse
of a girl’s underwear,
and the girls kept a heavy snow
on their perilous ascent,
oh impossible dream!

If a girl showed you her panties
it meant you had climbed straight
into her heart and were rewarded
with a sight from the top
that made paradise pale,
oh glory!


Paradise’s Greatest Hits

You’re most beautiful
when you’re in pleasure,
eyes closed to the motion
of my body against yours,
singing as water sparkling
over stones in a stream.

Some little sighs spill
over your lips when we hold
each other as close as we can,
flowered vines twisting
in the mist of an April day.


Gary Wilkens was born in 1976 in Charleston, SC and raised in North Carolina and Arkansas. He’s lived in several trailer parks and the Salvation Army more than once. He currently pursues a PhD in Creative Writing at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His first book, The Red Light Was My Mind, was released in 2007. His poems have also appeared in the Texas Review, Passages North, Yellow Medicine Review, and The Prague Revue.